Reef Check News


New Laws in California & Marshall Islands Protect Sharks


2011-10-12

In October, California and The Republic of the Marshall Islands became the latest entities to pass laws protecting sharks.

California joined Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, CNMI, and Guam in banning the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins. It is estimated that 75 million sharks are killed each year for their fins and, in many cases, the fins are cut off while the sharks are alive and the animals are tossed back into the ocean to die. The ban in California goes into effect on January 1, 2012 but existing stocks of fins, such as those in possession by restaurants serving shark fin soup, can be used until January 2013. California is one of the largest consumers of shark fins outside of Asia.cpr stands for

Also this month, The Republic of the Marshall Islands established the world's largest shark sanctuary by ending commercial fishing of sharks in all 768,547 square miles of its Pacific waters. The law bans the sale, trade and possession of sharks, shark fins, or any other shark parts. Under the law, any shark caught accidentally by fishing vessels must be released, and large monetary fines between US$25,000 to US$200,000 can be assessed for anyone found to be fishing for sharks or in possession of shark fins. In addition, violators would be fined the market value of the product in their possession.

Read our previous story: An Asian-American Perspective on Shark Finning